Manually Clearing the Print Queue in Windows

Ever had to deal with the printer not printing as and when you want it to? Sometimes, you are just stuck waiting for the printing to happen, but the job will not go through. There is a plethora of reasons why this happens with print jobs, like maybe the local print spooler service is not running, but usually, it is the most obvious reason that is the culprit: a stuck job in the print queue.

Any number of causes can be behind this. If, for instance, you had tried printing something a few hours before and the printer was off, and you then forgot about the whole thing. What happens then is that you come back to make another print, but the new job gets stuck behind the old print which never happened. The new job simply gets added to the queue.

You can also try manually deleting the old print job, but this isn’t guaranteed to work. If it does not, that means you will have to clear the print queue. Below are steps to make sure that gets done right.

Common Printer Issues

Head to Start, then Control Panel, followed by Administrative Tools. Run Services.

  • Here, move down until you see Print Spooler, and when you do, right click it and choose Stop. For this, you will first need to have logged in as administrator. When you hit Stop, it means no printouts can be made on printers hosted on the server.
  • After that, go to the C:\WINDOWS\System32\spool\PRINTERS If the C drive is not the one in which Windows is installed, then go to %windir%\System32\spool\PRINTERS by typing this into the Explorer address bar and hitting Enter.
  • Select and delete all the files here. This is supposed to clear the print queues. If it is being done on a server, you may want to first ensure that there are not any print jobs currently being processed on the other printers. Otherwise, carrying out the steps mentioned above will delete those jobs as well.
  • Head back to Services and find the print spooler service. Right click on this, and from the drop down menu, choose Start.

This should let you print without any issues. You could alternatively use a script type out in Notepad saved as a batch file. The commands are as follows:

net stop spooler

del %systemroot%\System32\spool\printers\* /Q /F /S

net start spooler

The first command stops the spooler service, and the third one restarts it. The middle command deleted everything in the print queue without asking for confirmation.

Chris Williams

Chris Williams is the Founder, Senior Editor here at PrintSpoolServices blog. Apart from being a geek, he loves playing and watching football!

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